Hobo Lobo is a gorgeous, three-dimensional webcomic about the Pied Piper

Innovation isn't always a good thing in comics; just look at the atrocity that is the motion comic. But sometimes, a little technology can have a surprising and even old-fashioned effect. Hobo Lobo of Hamelin is a witty retelling of "The Pied Piper," and the side scrolling effect creates the impression that you're watching the whole thing played inside a diorama. This here's something special.

Stevan Živadinović's Hobo Lobo is a delightful read even without its technical tricks. The otherwise picturesque town of Hamelin is overrun by coked-up rats, which threaten the re-election campaign of the Fascist-Calvinist Mayor Dick Mayor. Then the mysterious Hobo Lobo, professional renaissance man, rolls into town and sets about giving harmonica lessons, smelting metal, and doing the townspeople's taxes. It's only a matter of time before the mayor contracts the talented vagrant to rid the hamlet of its rodent problem.

But the visuals here really are a treat. This isn't a 3D comic as in "put on your 3D glasses and watch uncanny rats jump out at you." It's a digital experience that gives the illusion that you're looking inside a story box. As you scroll through the comic, scenes and characters move around in a way that looks far more mechanical than digital, and although Živadinović occasionally uses animation in his storytelling, it complements rather than overwhelms the rest of the art. It helps that he has a great sense of visual language that swings from snarky to touching to surreally macabre in just a few pages.

Živadinović is making much of his code available under a Creative Commons License to allow other creators to make similarly constructed comics. Hopefully, those creators will use their newfound storytelling powers for good.

[Hobo Lobo via Jess Fink]